Photo Contribution: Arooj Malik

Daily encounters with scores of students at E-8 downhill sector of Islamabad were becoming a reason for aversion to crowded places until I thought of starting to document all the oddities I come across.
Every odd encounter, however, will expose new lessons” I thought. 

It was in the parking area of my university when I heard this vibrant voice for the first time. 

I turned around. Directly in front of me, a tall figure rose with a dimpled smile on face. It was Momina, who invariably wore her long black hair tied up in a bun. Just when I felt exhilarated to recognize that it was her, she hugged immediately, greeting graciously out of force of habit. I felt similarly friendly towards her. 

It was not her appearance but inordinate humility on her countenance that made me want to spend more time with her. Every time, it had been a fair few good minutes. She’s impeccably well-mannered and generously courteous. 

Apparently she has never had a difficult period in her life; at least not as hard as that of other friends going through ugly breakups. Pretty much the university life of most people. She had her innocence and spontaneity intact. Almost all the best people I’ve known, when they open up about their life, they reveal having been treated badly, more so, they allowed to be treated the worse once or more times in life. She could be the exception.
To me, Momina’s appearance is an epitome of serenity. Many people I know learnt to stay away from complexities and resort to simplicity to achieve and maintain the calm of her face and the courtesy in her tone. 

All the wonderful and wise people I met are those who made mistakes and inferred meaningful lessons from them.

 Mistakes clarify the conception of what do we want to become. There’s no way we can learn what we desire until we stumble and fall. All the screw ups serve as an opportunity to find out our own path. Mistakes are guideposts in disguise. 

Stephen Chbosky, the American author brought to light his answers of why good people allow themselves to get treated so badly? “We accept the love we think we deserve” he answers in the book “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” 

A the natural thought tells us that people are “used” and taken advantage of for their being ultra-kin.

This girl Momina who stands regally tall and walks in honour, however, silently pushes me to override this idea. Our instinct alerts us of the looming danger. Ain’t that the truth? We choose to set aside intuition to live in a fool’s paradise. Chbosky is right, we accept things according to our self-view. 

Our attitude is always giving us up in front of people. We teach them how they need to treat us. If we don’t honour ourselves, others will step in the private zone to drain us out of our energies. But how soon we learn that? When we make mistakes! That’s when we reestablish our values. 

Hardly do we know that we could be inspiring others with our mistakes. When we courageously face up to life, others who see us are motivated to live life positively. 

No mistake you make should haunt you if you are able to derive “right lessons” from it. Your mistakes make you better. Mistakes teach responsibility and integrity. You can’t alter what you were but you can certainly choose what to become from this point on. Lone tarnish on your personality is the inability to learn to rise and move forward.


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